DELHI has seen the rise and fall of many empires which have left behind a plethora of monuments that commemorate the grandeur and glory of bygone ages. Very few cities in the world can display such a profusion of architectural styles. At least seven cities wtill survive in Delhi, a city which traces its history to the Mahabharata, the great epic tale of wars fought between estranged cousins, the Kauravas an the Pandavas, for the city of Indraprastha.
You can discover Delhi on your own. But if short of time, take one of the conducted tours which will give you a good general view of the capital. The entry fee for foreigners to all heritage monuments in India is Rs 250, and for non-heritage monuments it is Rs 100. The more important of the over 400 historical buildings and several places of interest in Delhi are :
EARLY ISLAMIC PERIOD (end 11th to beginning 16th century):
Qutub Minar: The 72.5 m-high-tower dates back to the 13th century and is one of the greatest bequests of Islamic culture. At its base lies the Quwwatul-Islam Masjid, the first mosque in India. A famous iron pillar of 5th century stands before it; it has remained rust free for 1500 years. According to local belief if you can get your fingers to touch, with your back to the pillar and arms around it, your wishes will be granted.
Lal Kot, the first city of Delhi, was built around 1060 AD by the Hindu Tomar King Anangpal. This was enlarged by Prithviraj Chauhan, the celebrated Rajput ruler. Later, the first Muslim ruler of Delhi, Qutub-ud-din-Aibak, built the mosque and laid the foundation of the Qutub Minar.
Siri, the second city of Delhi, was established as the capital in the early 14th century by Allauddin Khilji. Near its ruins is today’s Asian Games Village complex. The road branching off Aurobindo Road, south of Green Park, terminates at Hauz Khas. Hauz Khas takes its name from the tank Hauz-i-Alai excavated by Khilji for the inbabitants of Siri. Feroze Shah Tughlak (latter part of the 14th century) repaired the tank, and constructed buildings including a madrasa (university for religious teaching). Prominent buildings are Feroze Shah’s tomb and mosque. Some inscriptions indicate that repairs were carried out during Sikandar Lodi’s reign (early 16th century).